||Capulet House Publishing
||July 24, 2003
9½ Couples takes readers on a journey through the delicate issues that besiege the lives of nine unforgettable couples who—to stay together—must overcome the toughest relationship challenges.
It is a story about the intimate and emotional situations and catastrophic changes that result when couples fail to communicate.
A remarkable novel about how communicating your true feelings can bring redemption and, ultimately, salvation to a troubled relationship.
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9½ Couples: Live Love Intimacy
Book Excerpt: A Note from the Author
Have you ever loved someone so much that everything seems to remind you of them? A song flows from the radio and instantly you’re transported back to a party, slow-dancing in the arms of that special someone. A familiar fragrance trapped within the folded edge of a magazine page escapes and whips your senses into a sensual frenzy, releasing yet another memory of that special person.
He saw a couple cuddling by the fireplace and, without warning, the rich flavor of hot chocolate, marshmallows, and Simone’s honey kisses excited Jean-Paul’s taste buds.
Over the years, my friend and colleague Dr. Jean-Paul Lefervre counseled hundreds of patients who have lost their loved ones. He guided them through the grieving process, explaining the emotions that would manifest immediately and those that would materialize down the road. However, not until he lost his wife Simone, did Jean-Paul really understand grieving.
When Simone made her transition, the pain within Jean-Paul’s heart was so intense it took every ounce of his mental energy to block the excruciating heartache throughout the day. Jean-Paul endured his sleepless nights with the help of wine, long walks, and prayer. He was so crushed and distraught that his patients counseled him during their therapy sessions. Denial, pain, loneliness, fear, shock, anger, anxiety, and that most-devastating of human emotions—guilt—hit him like a two-ton wrecking ball, turning Jean-Paul’s peaceful life into a living hell.
The road to recovery wasn’t short or easy, but Jean-Paul eventually accepted the reality that his Simone was gone—and that absolutely nothing was going to bring her back. After a short leave from his practice, after hours of intensive counseling and analysis of the case histories of patients who had lost someone dear to them, Jean-Paul was able to rebuild peace in his life.
Yes, by studying the case histories of his patients who had lost a loved one, Jean-Paul discovered a way to let go of Simone. He was able to cheat the cliché, “experience is the best teacher” by using the collective experiences of his patients as a map to shorten his road to recovery. Jean-Paul refined this road-map therapy and incorporated it into his bag of treatment “tricks.” He found that sharing the misfortunes of former patients with new couples coming in for counseling dramatically decreased the number of appointments needed for therapy and increased the patients’ success rate. Judging from the attitudinal changes in my friends who were being treated by Jean-Paul with his new “journal therapy,” the results were phenomenal.
Then the idea hit me—why not compile a series of stories, in journal form, dealing with relationship problems? Couldn’t Jean-Paul use such a book as a therapeutic aid in his practice? He thought it could.
Before long, we compiled several entries and put them into book form. Jean-Paul told his patients that this book was like a crystal ball—that they could see the past, present, and future outcome of a couple in a conflict like theirs. The patients loved it. Soon they started requesting chapters unrelated to their problems. Weeks later, Jean-Paul was bombarded with phone calls from friends of his patients, requesting “that crystal ball book.”
There must be much truth in the cliché “misery loves company,” because the response to his initial book was overwhelming. I’d like to believe it’s not that misery loves company, but that those of us who are miserable want to know that we are not unique—that other people have the same problems we do. In fact, we gain comfort when we discover that other people have successfully dealt with similar issues. I believe that this awareness gives us the strength to forge ahead.
For those of you wondering about patient confidentiality, Jean-Paul has changed the names of each couple presented in this book. Permission was given by those patients still living, and by those family members surviving the deceased. The original content of the patients’ thoughts expressed in their journals has not been changed; however, the thoughts have been enhanced to clearly reveal the essence of each conflict.
Do you remember Aesop’s fables? His stories contained subtle suggestions and hidden meanings, wrapped in metaphors. Aesop designed his fables to entertain his readers, while subtly conveying a moral truth or some cautionary advice. You might think of Jean-Paul’s collections of case studies as interesting fables about life and love inside of intimate relationships.
9½ Couples is about relationship ecology, the study of the consequential problems that occur in relationships because of human nature and lack of communication.
Jean-Paul reconstructed the stories of nine couples from the personal journals his patients kept while they were in counseling. Each “fable” was designed to make you the proverbial “fly on the (heart) wall” of the couples during their conflict. Complete with twists and turns, multiple layers of meaning, and unexpected endings, each fable is, in itself, a complete story. Also here, is the underlying story of our ½ couple, Jean-Paul, and his now-passed wife, Simone.
Each couple’s conflict, their journal entries, and Jean-Paul’s commentaries set the stage for the dramatic events that have shaped Jean-Paul’s life—as a man, lover, husband, and father.
If your challenge is that of infidelity, you may connect with Darren and Claudia’s heart-wrenching thoughts. If you have the formidable task of dealing with an unromantic partner or trying to extend the one-minute horizontal waltz to several hours, the extremes of Julia and Victor will make for interesting and stimulating reading. If your challenge deals with an inability to “stand up,” you may appreciate the carpetbagger approach taken in Tyrone and Tyra. Forbidden fruit may look different to you after reading the poetic prose in Dexter and Epiphany. Joel and Harriet’s story offers several not-so-obvious insights into May-December relationships. And if you’re reading just out of curiosity, I’m sure you’ll find Jean-Paul’s book informative and entertaining.
Whether you read these stories to shed some light on a situation that exists in your life or just because you’re curious, I believe you’ll walk away with a broader perspective on the saying, “there are two sides to every situation.”
When I asked Jean-Paul how a person could use these stories, his reply was simple, yet profound: “Whenever you come to a crossroads in your life—and there will be many—use these journal entries and the information in this book as a crossing guard—to foresee and hopefully prevent, emotional accidents.”
If you’re able to use the essence of these journal thoughts to avert potentially damaging arguments or conflicts, or to prevent your heart from being broken again, the time you spend reading Jean-Paul’s book will be the best emotional investment you’ve ever made.
"Have you ever loved someone so much that everything seems to remind you of them?"
"Why does the thing that brings me joy also bring me pain?"
"There are two sides to every situation, and each side has sides (conflicts) of its own."
"...it's as if he's inside my body and soul, feeling what I feel, knowing how far to take me before I explode, knowing just how much pressure to apply to bring me close—but not quite to—that point..."
"Trust the small-but-powerful voice inside your heart of hearts."
"As Simone's warm tears soaked my nightshirt, a cold sweat covered and chilled my brow. Why was this happening?"
"Meticulously, slowly, and ritualistically his hand slid down my thigh until a perfect roll formed around the laced top of my stocking."
"If you add up all of the turning points and important events in your life, how many of them did you experience with your father?"
"Do you remember your first love—you know, the little boy you kicked in the shins? Then you giggled as he jumped up and down for your enjoyment."
"Darren's journal entries revealed a behavior that most people exculusivel associate with females. Because his self-esteem was at an all-time love, Darren began to question his desirability as a man."
-from 9½ Couples: Live Love Intimacy
A Perfect Cup of Tea!
What an incredible novel. I devourer books all of the time and found 9 1/2 Couples to be one of the most memorable works of fiction I have ever read. The author, Wendell Scales, cleverly keeps your eyes glued to the pages with his exciting prose, your fingers eager to flip the page in anticipation of what is to come, while he gingerly holds your heart in his hands--caring for it--as you experience the highs and lows of each couples' conflict.
The nine couples in the book could easily be your next door neighbors, friends, coworkers, family, and interestingly enough--I saw myself.
As a woman, I was surprised that a man had written this material. Dr. Scales seems to write from his "heart of hearts," and generates beautiful images within your mind with well chosen words. A great example is an excerpt that appears on the back cover of his book: "...like many women, she hungered for a carat of conversation, a solitaire of sensitivity, earrings of ecstasy, a tiara of tenderness, an amulet of appreciation, and a ring of respect..."
I wonder if he might have been a woman in a previous life; he certainly writes like a female that has experienced the joy and pain of love.
9 1/2 Couples: Life Love Intimacy, just as the advertisement promised, took me on a journey through the delicate issues that besieged the lives of nine unforgettable couples. These couples conflicts came about because the partners did not communicate their true feelings to one another. For me, the worst conflict was the couple dealing with the "AIDS Terrorist." However, true to his craft, the author countered this character's sleaziness with a "forbidden fruit" love story that restores your faith in humanity.
The chapters are based on Dr. Scales' premise that 'There are two sides to every situation, and each side has sides of its own.' Each couple's chapter is a complete story; presenting both partner's point of view regarding the conflict, as well as the outcome of the situation. But, don't be fooled by the pretty prose, the steamy passages, or the tear-jerking scenarios; this novel is full of twist, turns, insights, and unexpected endings.
This book has spawned a new genre: Reality Fiction. It could easily be a reality television show, or a cable series.
After I finished reading 9 1/2 Couples: Life Love Intimacy, I was disappointed when I couldn't find any other books by this fabulous author. However, I was astonished when I discovered that this was Dr. Scales' first work of fiction; because he writes like a seasoned professional. I understand he has another novel in the works, but I couldn't find a release date.
To me, this inspirational novel heralds a vision of hope for both good and troubled relationships. Like Oprah, Dr. Scales wants to relieve pain and suffering for couples and individuals in troubled relationships. In fact, Dr. Scales strongly agrees with Oprah: Things can and will get better, but you must work to make it happen.
READ THIS NOVEL: If it were a tea, 9 1/2 Couples would be a perfect blend of Earl Grey, with just the right amount of Jasmine, with a dribble of decaffeinated tea, and some good old down home Lipton to boot! I give this novel 4 Teapots.
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